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Reykjavik gains its Gorbachev

Reagan-Gorbachev.jpgThe idea of a film for Reykjavik has been talked about for a while and back in January 2008 we had heard that Ridley Scott was going to direct a film about the meeting between the two superpowers that lead to the end of the Cold War and the signing of the Nuclear Arms Treaty that saw the reduction and decommissioning in nuclear missiles on both sides.

That news was confirmed in May 2011 and in August of this year we heard that Scott was no longer directing the film and that a new director was in talks, we also learned that the man who would be playing Ronald Reagan had been chosen. Now we have the director confirmed, Reagan confirmed and news of who is to be playing Mikhail Gorbachev.

I was surprised that Ridley Scott was no longer directing the film, but then it didn't seem like it was his normal fare and he's busy off trying to continue the Prometheus (Filmstalker review) series so the news that Mike Newell was directing made me much happier about the idea of the film. Scott does remain as a producer on the film through his company Scott Free.

Then there's the choice of actors for the two main roles and much like Frost/Nixon (Filmstalker review) they aren't the first choices that might spring to mind. Michael Douglas is set to play Ronald Reagan and now through The Hollywood Reporter and the BBC we hear that Christoph Waltz is set to play Mikhail Gorbachev.

The news announcement carries a couple of standard quotes from Newell and Scott with Newell saying:

"I feel very fortunate to have two such masters to portray the men who brought about the end of the third great war of the 20th Century...I'm very excited to see how each of these great actors gets to grips with their role as the history-changing giants we remember them to have been."

Scott said that he was excited by the story, the cast, the scale of events it portrays but also:

"The film will offer the viewer a unique look into two larger than life figures - Reagan and Gorbachev - who served as the catalysts for one of the most defining moments in our history, the end of the Cold War...

...They controlled nuclear arsenals which had the capability to destroy the world many times over but despite this, put the needs of humanity before their ideology and agreed to end the nuclear arms race. Informed by deeply-held private beliefs Reagan and Gorbachev reached an understanding that we can still draw lessons from today."

For those of you who don't know, Reykjavik tells the story of the meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, bringing together the leaders of the superpowers both looking for a way to pull back from the Nuclear arms race they were so locked into.

The amazing thing about this meeting is that it failed to achieve what it had set out to do but ultimately brought the two leaders together and was the starting block to the end of the Cold War leading them to develop and sign the treaty and even become friends. It was a historic meeting and a momentous time, and there's no doubt that both leaders played an important role in world peace.

This has the potential to be a superb film that could go down in history as much as the events themselves did.

Newell is directing from a script by Kevin Hood who wrote for the excellent television series Silent Witness and the film Becoming Jane.

Could this end up being as strong and as powerful as Frost/Nixon? It certainly has the potential, especially as it focuses on a far more monumental meeting in history.




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